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Understanding

  • When we find that we are not liked, we assert that we are not understood; when probably the dislike we have excited proceeds from our being too fully comprehended.

  • People don't want to be understood — I mean not completely. It's too destructive. Then they haven't anything left. They don't want complete sympathy or complete understanding. They want to be treated carelessly and taken for granted lots of times.

  • Understanding why is never enough.

  • The crown of life is neither happiness nor annihilation; it is understanding.

  • More piercing, more unbearable than blame / Is to be understood.

  • Thoughts are like stars in the firmament; some are fixed, others like the wandering planets, others again are only like meteors. Understanding is like the Sun, which gives light to all the thoughts. Memory is like the Moon, it hath its new, its full and its wane.

    • Margaret Cavendish,
    • "Aphorisms," The Cavalier and His Lady: Selected From the Works of the First Duke and Duchess of Newcastle ()
  • Those who understand only what can be explained understand very little.

  • ... whatever people in general do not understand, they are always prepared to dislike; the incomprehensible is always the obnoxious.

  • You can't recover from what you do not understand.

  • ... we / do not admire what / we cannot understand ...

  • What the mind doesn't understand it worships or fears.

  • To love is easy and therefore common — but to understand — how rare it is!

  • When he could not understand a thing he straight way condemned it. Simplicity itself!

  • The motto should not be: Forgive one another; rather, Understand one another.

    • Emma Goldman,
    • "The Tragedy of Woman's Emancipation," Anarchism ()
  • Nobody has ever been able to experience what they have thoroughly understood — or understand what they have experienced until they have achieved a detachment that renders them incapable of repeating the experience.

    • Zelda Fitzgerald,
    • 1932, in Matthew J. Bruccoli, ed., Zelda Fitzgerald: The Collected Writings ()
  • We don't really understand something until we have forgotten it.

    • Nancy Willard,
    • "Close Encounters of the Story Kind," A Nancy Willard Reader ()
  • [At age 92:] There are places I'd like to return to. But not as I was then but as I am now. 'Cause I'm trying to understand. And I've understood nothing.

  • I wish you wouldn't walk in and out of my mind as though it was a railway station!

  • Who understands much forgives much. To understand everything makes us very forgiving ...

  • ... she really did understand. Unfortunately, understanding doesn't always connote sanction, conversion, or forgiveness.

  • Occasionally there is a moment in a person's life when he takes a great stride forward in wisdom, humility, or disillusionment. For a split second he comes into a kind of cosmic understanding. For a trembling breath of time he knows all there is to know. He is loaned the gift the poet yearned for — seeing himself as others see him.

  • I can never remember things I didn't understand in the first place.

  • To understand is not to forgive, but to castrate; to understand is not to forgive, but to avoid having to be responsible for your own anger; to understand is not to forgive, but not to have the guts to take a stand.

  • She had a mean and petty mind. She disliked everything she didn't understand, and she understood practically nothing.

  • We can sometimes love what we do not understand, but it is impossible completely to understand what we do not love.

  • We understood each other at once. And understanding is so much better than loving.

  • Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.

  • ... one should not listen to what people say, only to what they mean, and she was one of those persons whose minds one must read for oneself, since her words so often deformed her thoughts.

  • Is it sufficient that you have learned to drive the car, or shall we look and see what is under the hood? Most people go through life without ever knowing.

  • There is nothing personal in the thunderclap of understanding. The lightning that releases it comes from outside oneself.

  • What people don't understand, they laugh at.

  • ... the growth of understanding follows an ascending spiral rather than a straight line.

  • There are too many men and women; there is too little Humanity. ... There is a dearth of understanding, of nakedness of spirit. All of us are over-dressed; no man knows what heart beats in his neighbour's bosom.

    • Anna Kingsford,
    • 1886, in Alan Pert, Red Cactus: The Life of Anna Kingsford ()
  • Anything that Maggie did not understand she feared; and anything she feared she derided.

  • People fear what they don't know or understand, and what they fear long enough, they also begin to hate.

  • All dread those things they don't understand ...

  • Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.

  • We do know that no one gets wise enough to really understand the heart of another, though it is the task of our life to try.

  • Understanding is a two-way street.

  • Anybody says he knows just how someone else feels is a fool.